In the present time, the blended teaching-learning approach has become a buzzword in the global educational system as the prevailing system doesn’t perfectly match with what the new normal requires. Many countries worldwide are trying to bridge the learning gaps and reduce the learning loss to students created by the pandemic. Innovation today is opening up classrooms to the world and bringing the world in a newer form of teaching-learning approach. Most of the educational institutions all over the world have already broken the spell of traditional perception and inertia due to the pandemic and resumed their academic operations through a blended approach.
Bangladesh is moving towards the goal of establishing successful leadership in the digital world. The country is rapidly advancing in digital transformation and the pandemic has paved the way more. It is gratifying to think that even low-income people today are accessing digital and tech opportunities using a smart mobile phone. Thus, we plan to create more learning opportunities for the children through an application by sharing and introducing it to the students and parents. The consideration in choosing such a platform for online learning is assured of service quality, the cost for using it, flexibility, and relevance with creative academic learning.
The goal is to create online and digital opportunities for students from all classes and backgrounds. The activities are particularly designed to build the reading skill of the students of primary grades through storytelling approach.
Activity 01: Recruiting the volunteers
An invitation was disseminated through social media and related platforms to inspire the young volunteers to be a part of the project and share their interest in registration. JAAGO’s volunteer network actively searched and motivated young people to register for the event who were fit for it. A total of 250 volunteers have been recruited from 5 districts countrywide. 50 from each district. The youth volunteers have been shortlisted based on the eligibility criteria set for them.
Youth aged 18 to 30 can be participants, from all geographic location
Representation of socioeconomic determinants including age, gender identity and expression, caste, race, socio-economic status, disability, and sexual orientation have been considered
Participants have a good understanding of digital and blended learning approach.
Activity 02: Training of the volunteers
A two-day-long virtual training program have been completed for the selected volunteers in groups to build a clear understanding of project plans and activities that include read-aloud instructions, ideas for engaging with families and communities, Let’s Read features, child protection policies etc. Internal expert from JAAGO have conducted the training. The training has allowed the youth to understand more on the basic concept of digital and blended teaching-learning approach articulated in the project plan. It has increased their understanding of school and community communications, storytelling, use of virtual learning applications, and necessary parent’s inclusion in the teaching-learning process. The training comprised of group works and other activities and explored new perspectives of the volunteers on the contextual dissemination of virtual app-based learning. Furthermore, the training has covered necessary contents of JAAGO child protection and safeguarding policy so that the volunteers are sensitized prior to the inception of activities in schools. Designated facilitators have conducted the training sessions for all volunteers in their respective groups.
Activity 03: Identifying the schools
The youth volunteers will be circulated in their respective areas. JAAGO team with the help of the volunteers will find 5 suitable schools in a district with an estimated 100 students in each. A total of 25 schools will be selected in all 5 districts. The selected schools will be allowed to introduce the virtual learning application to their students. Our target is not the JAAGO Schools as most of the parents of the JAAGO schools don’t have much opportunity in smartphones and internet. We primarily focus on Government run and private schools. However, we don’t intend to make a formal approach to the central educational authorities as they maintain a sluggish process which may affect our project timeline. We plan to collaborate with local primary educational authorities for partnering with schools. We will prepare and sign a MoU with the local primary educational authorities.
Activity 04: Selecting and onboarding the schools
The selected schools will be communicated by the respective youth volunteers for onboarding the teachers and SMC with project plans and activities and their roles to play. A total of 25 schools in 5 districts will be onboarded to sensitize 2500 students. In a school, 4 classrooms from grade 1 to 4 consisting of 25 students in each will be considered. The respective youth volunteers will make a verbal agreement with the school teachers and SMC members to implement the activities in the schools.
Activity 05: Sensitizing the parents and launching of the program
The trained volunteers will travel to the selected schools and read aloud some stories from the learning application for the students in different sessions. Each session will have 25 children of a certain grade and their parents. For each session, 5 youth volunteers will form a group while one of them will read aloud the stories with expression and the rest of them will interact with the participants with different features of the learning application. Parents will also be introduced and sensitized with necessary guidelines and information about the app and its usage. Youth volunteers will also guide the students to download the app on their parent’s phones. At the end of the session, the participants will be given some fun activities to do at home with a week’s deadline. Worksheets will be printed and provided to the volunteers for distributing to the students accordingly. The sheet will contain some images that need to be colored by the students according to the image set in the chapters of the learning app. Respective class teachers will evaluate their work and choose the best performer for the class. Students will be encouraged to download the app onto their parents’ smartphones as a result of this activity. Furthermore, a printed one-pager communication tool with the guidelines for downloading the learning application will be shared with the parents to ensure their children’s participation in the competition. This one-pager will guide and motivate the parents to download the app and ensure their children’s preparation for the competition. JAAGO will also collaborate to develop grade wise collections on Let’s Read library based on Bangla curriculum. For example, if a volunteer works with a grade 2 classroom, we can curate a collection on the Bangla Let’s Read library with 20-30 books designed for that age group, followed by another collection for grade 3 students and so on.
Activity 06: Follow up by the youth volunteers
The respective youth volunteers will revisit the schools every 4 weeks in order to follow up with the schools to get updates around the activities so the students and parents can be sensitized again regarding the importance of reading and storytelling through the learning app Let’s Read.
Activity 07: Prize giving and closing
After completion of the activity, a prize-giving ceremony will take place in respective classrooms in order to engage with the kids and parents and to encourage the habit-forming aspect. The students will be instructed to draw and color on a regular basis so that our volunteers can review their work once in a month. Youth volunteers will provide gifts to the class teachers. The best performer will be given some lucrative prizes and the rest of the students will be given drawing books.